Stories In This Issue

DG defines our 2020-21 opportunities

Rotary Opens Opportunities - What a perfect theme for 2020-21!
Rotary has always opened opportunities for fellowship, service and personal development for us as Rotarians. We Rotarians open opportunities for students through Rotary Youth Exchange, RYLA, Camp Enterprise and other programs. We offer opportunities for better lives in our local and global communities as we invest in our local non profits, global sanitation and hygiene projects, polio immunization and in so many other ways. However, as we face a global pandemic, systemic racial equity issues and ongoing environmental challenges, our communities need us to embrace the opportunities and challenges.
I am so proud to be part of District 5950 where I see Rotarians leading the way to identify and meet challenges and open opportunities.
Global & Local Pandemic Response:  Our district was the international lead in helping the Rotary districts of hard hit Italy provide life-saving equipment for hospitals across their country. D5950 also received a substantial Rotary International (RI) grant for critically needed food shelf funding.
Environment:  Rotary International's new Area of Focus is Supporting the Environment. While Rotarians all over the world helped develop this initiative, our own Steve Solbrack was a vital contributor to RI making this decision. Steve led the chartering of the Twin Cities EcoClub, and serves as a director of the Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group (ESRAG).
Racial Equity:  This is a critical issue in our community and across the country. I am asking all Rotary Club Presidents and District Leaders to join me in reflecting on our communities' and clubs' needs and in formulating action plans. (See article below for more district actions.)
New Rotarians and Cause-Based Clubs:  At least 75 new Rotarians joined our district during 2019-20! We chartered the first Rotary Club for Veterans; its 22 charter members quickly grew to over 50. In April we chartered a Passport Club with over 20 members, and in June we chartered the first Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking with 27 charter members. No other district in our Zone matched our growth of clubs or members.
Virtual Meetings - Finally, wow, have we ever created New Opportunities for Rotarians thrugh virtual meetings! One morning, my Edina Morningside club joined the Eden Prairie AM club for a fabulous presentation from the woman who is the voice of Siri -- joining us all the way from Australia! A dear friend in South Africa got up in the middle of the night to watch the video of my installation as your district governor. While I miss seeing everyone in person,
I am delighted to be able to see so many friends via Zoom meetings. And I love having friends from around the world get to know the amazing Rotarians in our district!
Thank you for the honor of letting me serve you as your District Governor this year.  
Yours in Rotary Service,
Tom Gump

Join in addressing racial equity issues

I noted in my introductory article that I want to specifically address racial equity issues and planned district actions. The problem of racial inequities is in our midst. This crisis is happening in the lives of our fellow Rotarians, some of whom receive bomb threats because of their country of origin. Rotarians worry for our children’s safety. Will they be threatened because of the color of their skin? 
We know progress has occurred, but we must work harder to overcome centuries of inequities. First, remember who we are: Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.  We are People of Action.
I want to highlight three initiatives in our district to raise awareness and start to take action to promote lasting change:
Racial Equity Conversations:  At the district level, we are partnering with the YMCA Equity Innovation Center to facilitate a three-part conversation to better understand the inequities in our communities, address unconscious bias, and start developing action plans. Detailed information on the sessions and the registration process was sent to all district club presidents. We can accommodate two members from each club. I encourage all club presidents to register, and invite one other member from each club.  Please review the flyer at left and direct your questions to Catherine Gump (, Brock Ray (, and/or Natalie Johnson Lee (
Bloomington Community Conversation:  The Bloomington Noon Club is sponsoring a Community Conversation on Racial Equity on July 27 at 5:30. Two of the five panelists are Rotarians: Bloomington Chief of Police Jeff Potts and Normandale Community College President Joyce Ester. They will address racial equity in Bloomington. The conversation will take place in person with community members and be broadcast on Bloomington Facebook Live. Email any questions to Bloomington Club President Mark Adkins (
George Floyd Memorial Scholarship: Led by Minneapolis University Club, eight clubs are establishing a scholarship fund for a Black student from Minneapolis to study at the University of MN.  (See additional article.)
Together, these are actions that truly Open Opportunities for everyone in our communities!
In Rotary service,
DG Tom

Virtual installation draws 800+ viewers

Over 800 Rotarians gathered at watch parties and online to watch Tom Gump’s installation as District 5950’s Governor on Thursday, June 25. Speakers emphasized Gump’s work in growing district membership, strengthening existing clubs and conducting visits to clubs within the district. 

According to Past District Governor Tim Murphy, Gump has attended more club meetings in the past two years than district governors are required to do throughout their tenure. “Anybody who's that willing to be a district governor has to be a little bit crazy,” said Murphy about Tom’s penchant for going above and beyond.

Edina mayor Jim Hovland was another installation speaker. “The purpose of life is to use it up,” Hovland said. “And for Tom Gump, the purpose of life is to use it up in service of others.” Tom Gump’s contributions to Rotary include hosting six exchange students, helping to found the world’s first Rotary club for veterans, and creating an initiative to end human trafficking.  

On premiere night of this first-ever virtual installation, at least 430 viewed the event on Facebook, 276 viewed the event on YouTube and 110 people attended in-person viewing parties at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Edina, John Barnett’s home in Edina, DGE Marianna Khauv’s hotel in Monticello, Carol MacDonald’s home in Burnsville, and in Maple Grove. The Rotary Club of Minnesota Veterans also got together to watch the installation at Grumpy’s Bar & Grill in downtown Minneapolis. If you missed it, check out the installation event online.

Photo highlights (from top):
Outgoing District Governor Russ Michaletz receives his PDG pin from his wife, Jan. The Rotary Rooters (Minneapolis City of Lakes) serenaded fellow singer Michaletz. Catherine and Tom Gump and their son, Andrew, reacted during a watch party at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. Newly installed District Governor Tom Gump addresses D5950 Rotarians. The many Rotarians involved in producing the virtual installation are thanked in the vertical box.

Mpls. University Club applies for George Floyd Memorial Rotary Scholarship grant

In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and worldwide demonstrations about racial injustice, Minneapolis University Rotary Club is sponsoring a scholarship in memory of George Floyd and in response to Minnesota’s glaring racial inequalities in education and income. Together with Wallin Education Partners and seven collaborating Rotary clubs, the scholarship will provide $24,000 over four years for an African American student from Minneapolis to study at the University of Minnesota.
An application has been submitted to the District Grants Committee to receive district funds in addition to the generous gifts from the Rotary clubs. If approved at the committee’s July meeting, a student will be selected from Wallin’s wait list in time for the Fall 2020 semester. The Wallin program is a nationally recognized college-completion program for high-potential students with financial need.
Collaborating clubs include Brooklyn Park, North Minneapolis, Edina (Noon), Minneapolis #9, Minneapolis South, Uptown Minneapolis, and Eden Prairie AM. Rotarians from all of the participating clubs will be invited to take part in mentoring and supporting the scholar recipient. Additional academic and advisory support through the Wallin program leads to Wallin’s high rate of student success.

District receives a $25,000 RI Disaster Grant for our food shelves

In April 202, district leaders explored pursuing a TRF COVID-19 Grant for key food shelves serving D5950. Survey results identified five organizations which are supported by several clubs:
  • Open Door Pantry south of the Minnesota River 
  • VEAP in the immediate SW suburbs
  • ICA in the Lake Minnetonka area
  • CEAP in the NW suburbs
  • Catholic Charities in St. Cloud
Leaders learned that the district will receive the $25,000 grant and reimburse up to $5,000 for each of these five food shelves as they purchase food or supplies on our behalf, with proper documentation. Watch for Public Image photos of our members and clubs working with these food shelves to benefit local communities.

Looking for a local response opportunity?

Service Above Self is ingrained in every District 5950 Rotarian. Despite social restrictions, both clubs and individuals are looking for ways to make a difference. Check out these opportunities and see if there's a good fit for you.

Supporting the Environment is Rotary's new Area of Focus

Supporting the Environment is Rotary's new (seventh) Area of Focus. Steve Solbrack (EcoClub) is chair of District 5950 Environmental Sustainability. He is forming an Environmental Sustainability (ES) Action Team and asks any Rotarian to contact him with your interest in serving on the team. The first meeting will be Tuesday July 14 at 5:00 pm for about one hour. To receive the Zoom meeting link or indicate that you are unable to attend the meeting but would like to receive ES Action Team alerts please email

Find a Rotary Fellowship that’s right for you

Want to make friends around the world, explore a hobby or profession, and enhance your Rotary experience? Join a Rotary Fellowship! Rotary Fellowships are international groups of Rotary members, their family members, program participants, alumni, and even non-members who share a common passion.

From bowlers to jazz fans, scuba divers to history enthusiasts, photographers to lawyers, there’s a Rotary Fellowship for everyone. About 91 fellowships unite members in fun and friendship. If you’re not already part of a fellowship, it’s a great time to learn why you should join one. Look at a complete list of fellowships and watch a video highlighting just a few of them. You can also find inspirational stories from various fellowships on the Rotary Service in Action blog. 

Upcoming Events
Zone District Leadership Institute
Jul 24, 2020 – Jul 25, 2020
Racial Equality - Part 1 - Embracing Truth (1)
Jul 30, 2020
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Rotary Race Day - End Polio Now
Canterbury Park
Aug 07, 2020 5:00 PM
Racial Equality - Part 1 - Embracing Truth (2)
Aug 08, 2020
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Racial Equality - Part 1 - Embracing Truth (3)
Aug 17, 2020
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
View entire list
Russell Hampton
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